We were either settling on a trip to Iceland (because of the rumours that the Northern Lights were dimming?) or Melbourne and we settled on the latter due to time constraints and the hassle of packing for another freeze-your-ass-off country.
Melbourne wasn’t too bad, but I would say in all honesty that the city as a tourist spot is somewhat of an acquired taste. And by that I meant that I was not all for its hipster vibes and such. The people weren’t too bad, there weren’t as many Chinese rich kids as Sydney and the weather is pretty awesome.
The funny thing about our first stop was that, it was somehow one of the only places that required a parking coupon. It slipped our mind and hence we racked up our first expense of the trip in the form of a tourist-trap parking ticket. Of all the next 20 or so parking spots we went to, none of them required any form of parking ticket. Talk about first blood.
The one thing I had to say about the bathing boxes were that they were indeed owned by somebody. They were just small houses painted in bright colours anyway. I was always slightly skeptical of Singapore’s own man made attractions but seeing this made me feel a slight sense of vindication.
The one thing that I regret was coming at the wrong timing. The sun was pretty harsh and it cast shadows all over the boxes. Twilight hours would have been good to capture photos here.
The next stop gave me my new laptop wallpaper. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne was actually quite disappointing as the main attraction was a man made sea of red sand, quite meh. We got bored and saw a few swallow/hummingbird like birds and took out the 300mm to play around. Personally this shot alone made it worth lugging the 300mm all around Melbourne.
The highlight of the day was to make it for the daily penguin parade at Phillip Island. The cute little creatures would come waddling up to shore after a day of hunting and make their way back to their nests. Somehow they have managed to monetize this entire natural phenomenom by building an entire tourist complex on the shore to allow tourists to sit right where the penguins will waddle by. Good for them that this happens on a daily basis too.
The whole experience wasn’t too shabby alright. We got the mid tier tickets which really afforded a good view of all the penguins poking their heads over the cliffs and clumsily waddling past the platform.
Source: Phillip Island Nature Parks
This was also the day that I found out the Gopro Hero 3’s low light capabilities were less than desirable.
Day 2 was much more of an adventure as we began to drive towards the Great Ocean Road.
I guess the Great Ocean Road is an experience unto itself. The roads in Melbourne are pretty beginner friendly, although there is a whole stretch of winding mountainous roads by the coastline. If I were to do it again, I would spend less time at the 12 (or 9? left?) Apostles and head on down to the other landmarks such as the London Bridge mentioned above.
Personally, NZ’s Great Ocean Road is far more breathtaking, with its wildflowers and spectecular colours and vastness. The ocean here feels a bit too grey for me.
Back in the city, we spent an entire day exploring Hidden Street, a list of hipster hangouts suggested by the community that will take you through many streets of the artistically-steeped city.
What I don’t really get is that most of the streets just take you through the myriad of cafes in Melbourne. To any normal tourist, won’t a stop or two satisfy their need to eat already? Nonetheless, we explored Melbourne on our own terms. It does have the essence of a city that has eked out its own identity and flavour, of busking artists along streets of wanton-selling restaurants amidst the backdrop of a city filled with weird and wonderful architecture and historical designs.